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Richard Johnson On Native River's Possible Gold Cup Return


24 December 2019

I’m riding at Fontwell Park on Boxing Day. There were no obvious opportunities for me at Kempton so it makes sense to go where I might have a few winners particularly as Brian Hughes is having such a tremendous run.

I ride Dostal Phil, a nice horse for Philip Hobbs and JP McManus, a couple for Chris Gordon, one for Colin Tizzard and one for Ali Stronge. As for the King George, it’s clearly a very competitive renewal with the front two in the betting exceptionally good horses and there are two previous winners in the field. I marginally favour Lostintranslation who remains unexposed in terms of his full potential but whatever happens it promises to be a fantastic race.

Following the defection of Native River, I’m still waiting to see what horse I might ride in the Coral Welsh Grand National, my agent Dave Roberts is on the case. Native River gave me a great feel when he won at Aintree a few weeks ago and although it’s disappointing for Chepstow and Kempton that he isn’t running at either course over Christmas, it makes sense for his campaign to be geared towards another tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. 

He gave me one of the biggest days of my career when he won the race in 2018. He’s likely to run in either the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham at the end of January or the Denman Chase at Newbury in February. 

We’ll be having a family Christmas with both sets of parents coming over and fortunately I don’t have any low weights on Boxing Day so will be able to enjoy a full Christmas dinner! 

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